The board of directors of Invest in the USA (IIUSA), a national membership-based, not-for-profit trade association for the EB-5 Regional Center Program, on Tuesday voiced support for a proposed amendment to bipartisan legislation that would bolster integrity and reform measures for the EB-5 immigrant investor visa program.
U.S. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) are expected soon to introduce an amendment to their EB-5 Reform and Integrity Act, S. 2540, which they introduced in September 2019 to reauthorize the EB-5 Regional Center Program, prevent program fraud, and to promote and reform foreign capital investment and job creation in American communities. The bill remains under consideration in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee.
“A long-term reauthorization can generate more than $9 billion annually of job-creating investment into our economy, just when our economy needs it most, all at zero cost to the taxpayer,” said IIUSA President Robert Kraft yesterday.
The EB-5 Regional Center Program permits federally authorized regional centers to pool EB-5 visa applicants’ investments, which IIUSA says exponentially fuels U.S. local and regional economies with projects that create and retain American jobs. Federal law requires each EB-5 investor to contribute either $900,000 or $1.8 million (depending on location) into a U.S. business and create or retain at least 10 jobs for American workers.
The forthcoming 102-page amendment — subtitled EB-5 Investor Visa Reform, according to the text of the document — includes integrity provisions such as protections for good faith investors, protections for lawful EB-5 Regional Centers from any bad actors seeking to defraud investors, and a five-year reauthorization to stabilize the industry and help facilitate job creation and economic development across the country, according to a summary of the amendment provided by IIUSA.
For instance, among numerous provisions in the amendment, the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security “shall require a regional center to notify the Secretary, not later than 120 days before the implementation of significant proposed changes to its organizational structure, ownership, or administration.” This would include the sale of a regional center, or other arrangements that would result in individuals not previously subject to the stated requirements in the bill becoming involved with a regional center, according to language in the amendment.
Additionally, the amendment would permit the Secretary to audit each regional center “not less frequently than once every five years,” and each audit would be required to include a review of any required documentation for the preceding five years, as well as a review of the flow of alien investor capital into any capital investment project.
“To the extent multiple regional centers are located at a single site, the Secretary may audit multiple regional centers in a single site visit,” according to the amendment.
IIUSA in its statement thanked Congress for its ongoing commitment to ensure an equitable and long-term future for the job-creating EB-5 program, as well as its leaders, members and government affairs team for supporting the process.
“We are pleased to have the support of the broad spectrum within the EB-5 industry and the even broader spectrum of those outside the industry who stand to benefit from this reauthorization,” Kraft said. “Mayors from around the country, including the U.S. Conference of Mayors, trade associations, chambers of commerce, travel organizations, healthcare organizations, and many others stand with IIUSA to support this reauthorization.”